Cover photo for Norman L. Asper's Obituary
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1934 Norman 2023

Norman L. Asper

August 28, 1934 — June 11, 2023

Ewing, NJ

It is with great sadness that our family announces the passing of our beloved Uncle Norm, “Doc”, Dr. Norman L. Asper, Professor Emeritus at The College of New Jersey, passing away unexpectedly, at the age of nearly 89. Norm was preceded in death by his parents, Frank & Doris, first wife Berdine and son Andy, and second wife Maria. Dr. Asper was born in South Bend, Indiana where he grew up in a musical family, his father was a trumpet player and taught him the instrument at age 5. His father, Frank Asper, was the owner of a grocery store and his mother Doris, a homemaker. While working at the store Norm learned many skills including those of a butcher. He played the trumpet in both grade and high school and had earned his guild card by age 14. Norm made frequent appearances with the South Bend Symphony as trumpet player. After high school he attended Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana studying classical music. He also spent many nights playing at the Stardust in Bloomington. During this time, he met a trombonist who shared with Dr. Asper how to keep his mind and playing in sync and how to never lose his place in the tune so that he would not go completely awry. With this new appreciation, he entered the Air Force and was a trumpet player with the Air Force Jazz band. He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal and served in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Cape Canaveral Florida. Upon release from the Air Force he went back to school and completed a BS and MS in Industrial Education from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. While earning his master's degree Dr. Asper worked as a Industrial Arts and Technology high school teacher in Elwood, Indiana so that his first wife Dean could finish her Bachelor's degree. After finishing their degrees they returned to Florida and Dr. Asper taught high school Industrial Arts and Technology in Melbourne Fl. All that time Dr. Asper had continued playing trumpet and drums with various bands. He also worked as a Manufacturing Engineer conducting mechanical design analysis for the Altar Project, a deep space penetration radio telescope at Radiation Corporation. In 1965, together the Aspers decided to move up academically to teach at a higher level. After searching for doctoral programs, Dr. Asper attended The Ohio State University, where he earned a Doctorate in Industrial Technology Education, with minors in Curriculum Development and Educational Research. In 1969, Dr. Asper arrived at TCNJ (formerly known as Trenton State College). Dr. Asper has loved fishing since a child, and fulfilled his lifelong dream of having a lake cabin. He spent many summers fly fishing every day as well as teaching nieces and nephews how to fish and clean their catch. His second love was anything of mechanical nature, having taken apart his first christmas bicycle at age 6 to the chagrin of his mother (he put it back together and rode that bicycle for years). Encouraged by his grandfather, he built many other bicycles, racing boats and cars. Some of his favorite builds were his hotrod VWs (beetles and buses) and Porsches, all of which he showed and raced with the SCCA. This love extended to watching many car shows including his favorite Full Custom Garage. Having grown up in the midwest, Norm loved corn, especially grilled corn on the cob and white popping corn, always making bags for the drive to competitions. Always an educator, he loved working with students and continued working even after retiring in 2007. Known as “Doc” by his students, Dr. Asper taught a variety of engineering classes including Power Technology, Power and Transportation, Engineering Material Science and Manufacturing, Creative Design, Freshman Engineering, and Senior Project in the Mechanical Engineering department at The College of New Jersey for 55 years. From 1982 - 2007 he served as the faculty advisor for the student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Doc was instrumental in bringing real engineering problems to senior projects, recognizing the importance of team effort and the cooperative learning experience, beginning in 1983 with SAE mini baja. He advised and mentored many projects over the years, including electric and alternative fuel cars, bicycles, surfboard carriers for bicycles, and windmills. He advised and originated participation by many students in competitive international intercollegiate competitions for their senior design projects. These include taking 1st place SAE Mini Baja, NESEA Solar Electric Car, Solar Electric Car-NY, 1st place NASA Moon Buggy, SAE SuperMileage, ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge and this month attending for the 16th time with a solar/electric boat - Solar Splash 2023, World Championship of Collegiate Solar Boating. He was such a cool guy and in the words of his mother-in law a very fine person. Dr. Asper is survived by his brother Lynn Asper of Florida, two grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews, as well as many friends and colleagues at TCNJ and Solar Splash. A private ceremony will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers Norm requested that donations be made in his name to: The Norman L. Asper Fund for Mechanical Engineering Projects at The College of New Jersey.

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